Friday, July 24, 2015


Small Gasteria

I have a growing passion for succulent Gasteria. Since I purchased the first in November 2014 I have a collection found in nearly every window of our home.

Gasterias are succulents from South Africa and Namibia. Commonly called Ox or Lawyer Tongue, Gasteria are part of the family Xanthorrhoeaceae, subfamily Asphodeloideae. Closely related to Aloe and Haworthia, they readily cross creating Gasteraloe (Gastrorlea) and Gasterworthia.

The genus Gasteria is comprised of highly variable species. The plant is stemless, leaves are thick, with a waxy surface often banded or dotted with color or warty. The leaves grow from the center in either a linear stack or spiral form.  The raceme of flowers are down-facing, orange and green, shaped like stomachs thus the name Gasteria. The blossoms are edible raw or cooked and a component of stews.In my north country they make excellent houseplants, tolerating indirect sunlight or little shade. Some sunlight ensures compact grow. Too much sun will turn leaves to red and then white or yellow.

Water evenly and generously in the summer, letting the soil dry out between watering. Do not let water collect in between leaves. In the winter, reduce watering to every other month, but do not stop watering. The plant is frost hardy to -1°C.

I found it difficult to properly name all plants, Some I purchased were not named, I have not assumed all named varieties are correctly labeled either.

You can see additional pictures of Gasteria on my Pinterest board.
Gasteria nitida monstrosa

Gasteria glomerata

Hybrid Little Warty

The rest of these I will edit as I identify their names.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Pollen Dauber

Pollen dauber, why should the birds and bees have all the fun? This is the ultimate gardening experience, creating something new from the materials of nature.

Hybridizing requires some knowledge, there are many resources, some skill, which can be acquired through experience, patience, time and if you become dedicated some land. 

If I had the land say five to ten acres and a greenhouse I would daub many types of favorite plants: Erythroniums, Cimicifuga, Trollius, various beardless iris particularly Siberians, Laevigatas, Cristatas and then Martagon Lilies.

"Bringing Beauty to Life" is the motto of SummerChase Gardens. I have created new beauty for my own enjoyment and given this beauty for others to enjoy. The process creates living works of art. Hybridizing has refined my understanding of color, form, and texture. I have become in tune to the cycle of nature, insects, plants, soil, weather and climate. These are a few of the lessons to be learned.

Here are pictures of Siberian Iris selections lined out either last year or two years ago. Some are being grown for introduction ( one has been ) or as a further breeding source.  Some of these plants will never be registered or introduced.

    A dwarf Siberian, Summerchase Advent, two year old clump for demonstration and breeding.

Here are some dwarf Siberian Iris for final evaluation and increase prior to registration and introduction.

Flower like faded blue jeans

A nice light blue, one of a couple lined out for increase.

Large flowers on 10" plant.